Pubic hair removal is now the trend. One in every five women has undergone one form of hair removal or the other. You have either shaved, waxed, or undergone laser hair removal. According to research published in Jama Dermatology, almost 85 % of women between the age of 18 and 65 have either removed some or all their pubic hair.
Hmm, let's not commit the fallacy of hasty generalization. Some women still believe in and practice au naturel despite the fame of pubic hair waxing, shaving, and laser hair removal.
There you are, sitting on the fence, unable to decide whether to follow the crowd or join the minority... 😩
Should you groom your bikini hair or let it thrive? That's a major decision.
To clear the controversy lingering around pubic hair removal, together, we will analyze some facts, walk you down history lane and give a justification for both choices. I believe by the time we are done; you will be staring your choice in the face.
This article will take you through what pubic hair is, functions of pubic hair (if any), the history of pubic hair removal, why people remove the hair on their pubes, health hazards of pubic hair removal (if any), and finally, how to live safely with any choice you make.
What is pubic hair?
Pubic hair is the hair that grows around the vulva, which amongst other signs signals puberty. Generally, as mammals, body hair are part of our body features, and it shows up in different places and at different stages.
Pubic hair, unlike the hair on our heads, shows up when we reach puberty, and it falls off gradually as we age. Scanty grey bush down there is one of the effects of menopause.
While some people are blessed with thick and full bush on their lady bit, some people have lesser hair volume.
Yes, we are mammals, but why do we have to grow hair on our pubes, our plot of sexual pleasure, and reproductive route. Well, the hair on your bikini area is not there just for decoration.
They are not an ordinary nuisance disrupting your chic baby girl bikini line giving you the trouble of traveling down the salon. They grow there for a purpose! 😉
Functions of pubic hair
Reduces sexual friction
one of the functions of the hair down there is to guide your delicate skin from friction during sex. Some sexual positions may require rubbing of your pubic surface and that of your partner.
If care is not taken, you might get hurt in the process because the skin down there is delicate. As such, to serve as your dry lubricant, the bush is there to create a barrier.
It protects the Vagina
Pubic hair is like an army around your sexual and reproductive kingdom. They trap any form of debris or pathogen trying to get inside your vagina.
The hair follicle itself also secretes a particular oil called "sebum." This oil is said to reduce the multiplication of bacteria in the vagina area.
As such, the bush protects you against common infections such as cellulitis, urinary tract infections, and vulvovaginitis.
Aside from protection, pubic hair, just like body hair, help maintain vagina temperature.
It beautifies the pubes
Yes, it does; to you, it might be a horrible sight to behold, while some people see it as sexy. Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
Despite the functions of public hair, how did society come about pubic hair removal? 🤷♀️
History of pubic hair removal (as narrated by the women museum California)
The history of pubic hair dates back to the ancient Roman and Egyptian periods. The first pubic hair removal was done through a razor made out of copper.
It was first used by some set of Egyptian women who considered it civilized. Upper-class women in the roman empire during the 16th century were also reported to use depilatories and pubic stones to remove some public hair.
The ancient Egyptian believed bare skin was a sign of beauty, while the Roman believed it was uncivilized and ugly. Women during the reign of Cleopatra in Egypt were also recorded to use sugar waxing to get rid of unwanted hair.
In modern times, Charles Darwin was reported to be the one who popularized hair removal through his writing around 1871. Through his writings about homosapiens, he popularized the idea of lesser hair for high sexual attraction.
By the beginning of the 90s, American women already believe smooth and bare skin is a sign of feminity.
Gillette launched the first female razor, Milady Décolleté, into the market in 1915. With its derogatory ad describing body hair as objectionable and unsightly, hair removal became a competitive trend.
From the 90s downward, hair removal was popularized by the women fashion industry, women magazine industry, and men hair removal industry.
The introduction of bikini swimsuits in 1946 brought about bikini line removal. The old playboy magazine in the 1950s popularized the idea of a perfect bikini-clad body.
At first, the idea of a bare pube wasn't accepted by the earlier feminists. They believed and supported a full bush.
But this resistance was short-lived as Brazilian wax hit the market and became widespread.
Pubic hair removal in the age of social media
Social media, especially Instagram further reinforce the idea of fresh and bare is beautiful. Pubic hair removal is painted uncivilized and untidy. A perfectly tanned body in a hot swimsuit with smooth skin seems to be the ideal social media upload. Ladies with imperfect body shapes and figures coupled with pubic hair were constantly body shamed.
This is not to generalize the idea of a bare lady bit. Some people, including men, still fancy the idea of keeping the bush.
But is pubic hair that despicable? Historical time aside, why do people get rid of the hair down there?
Why do people remove their bikini hair
People choose to get rid of the hair down there for different reasons. Some of their reasons include;
The common argument for bikini hair removal is hygiene. It is believed that pubic hair facilitates more sweat, traps in dirt which makes the vagina emit unpleasant smells.
According to a study on the motivation behind pubic hair removal, 59 % of the female participants justified their choice with hygiene.
To me, this just doesn't hold water; it's one of those pubic hair myths we should all banish from our civilized thinking. As long as you maintain general body hygiene and clean up down there regularly, your pubes shouldn't emit an unpleasant odor.
Self-care routine and aesthetic
A lot of women see bikini line removal as a self-care routine that makes them feel good and confident about themselves. I mean, they want to hit the gym with that badass bikini-clad body looking fresh and sexy.
To satisfy sexual partners
On the other hand, some women cut the bush down there because their partners do not approve of it. Whether men or women, some partners find a bare lady bit sexy and attractive. A bare lady bit is likely to get 'a head' than a full bush.
Some partners associate full bush with being dirty and uncivilized. So, women who believe their partner's choice is paramount are left with no choice but to get rid of the bush before it gets rid of their sexual partner.
Social norm and the influence of mainstream media
A study has linked the increase in accessibility of pornography to pubic hair removal. Most porn stars appear bare.
This even influenced the Hollywood Brazilian style. People now associate bare skin with the ideal sexual skin.
Social Media ads and mobile upload has increased the pressure on women to want to appear perfect and sexy.
As such, many women remove their pubic hair to feel among and socially acceptable.
Increased sexual pleasure
While pubic hair appears to reduce friction during sex, another study has linked a bare skin with more sexual pleasure.
With all this argument and justification in favor of pubic hair, is it medically safe? Not at all. However, the clean shave gang is willing to pay the price! Anything for a clear bikini line.
Health risks of bikini hair removal
Most hair removal methods are associated with several injuries on the vulva, such as cuts during shaving, burns during bikini waxing, inflammation, or irritation that may result from laser hair removal.
When these injuries get infected, they may become bigger health complications in the bikini area. Even when they heal, they may leave horrible scars.
Shave bumps and ingrown hair
Shave bumps and ingrown hairs are highly associated to shaving and waxing. Ingrown hairs may appear after these hair removal methods because they only remove the hair, the follicles remain intact.
Once these follicles get clogged by germs or dead skin cells, hairs that are supposed to grow out become trapped in there, and they start growing inwards.
Shave bumps, on the other hand, occur after shaving because shaving, unlike waxing, does not uproot the hair; small sharp-edged hair left after shaving may curl back in and start growing inwards.
Although ingrown hairs may naturally disperse with time, infected ingrown hair may lead to folliculitis. Incidents of ingrown hairs and shave bumps are highly preventable with a good hair removal routine.
Exposure to infections
Since one of the purposes of pubic hairs is to prevent the entry of pathogens and reduce the multiplicity of bacteria. Leaving the vulva skin bare increases the chance of pathogens gaining access into the vagina.
Harsh pubic hair removal products and maintenance can also disrupt the vagina pH balance. In addition to that, sharing or unhygienic care of hair, removal equipment may also lead to transmission and contact of infections.
Should you groom your pubic hair?
The choice is absolutely yours. Any choice you make, we are rooting for you.
How to take care of your Bikini area whether your choose to remove the hair or keep it
#1 Maintain good hygienic practices
- Shower at least twice a day to eliminate sets and unpleasant odors.
- Try to use water after urination. Always wipe from front to back after defecating and when wiping your vaginal for any reason.
- Exfoliate your bikini area at least three times a week to get rid of dead skin cells and germs that may lead to ingrown hairs.
- Moisturize your bikini area after shaving or waxing.
If you choose to shave:
Make use of a sharp razor and sterilize it before reusing it. Don't share your shaving razor or pubic hair removal equipment with anyone. Apply shaving cream to retain your vaginal moisture while shaving and prevent cuts.
If you choose to wax:
exfoliate at least a day before your appointment. Choose a professional salon and if you choose DIY, do so hygienically and meticulously.
Moisturize the waxed area immediately after waxing. Avoid sexual intercourse, exposure to direct sunlight, visit to the gym and sauna at least 24hrs after waxing.
Treat any waxing or shaving injury immediately to prevent infection.
#2 Choose any product coming in contact with your vagina area carefully.
- Avoid washing your vagina-related clothing materials with highly perfumed or dyed detergent. These include your panties, towels, pajamas, and gym suits.
- Avoid using cloth bleach on your underwear.
- Go for cotton panties instead of synthetic panties.
- Avoid cream, scrubs, or moisturizers containing harsh chemicals.
- Favor natural ingredient-based products over chemical-based products. Harsh chemicals may disrupt your vaginal pH and herald infections.
To save you the trouble of picking out vaginal products containing natural products, I recommend Oyo pubic skincare kit. Our 3 step skincare system is a complete pubic skincare regimen.
It contains a cleanser that can also be used as a shaving cream, a bikini area exfoliator, and a moisturizer, all made with natural ingredients. Our product is tested and trusted for being effective and safe for the bikini area and yet affordable.